Marseille, France

Marseille [mar sεj], the most important port city in France, with 862 000 residents, second largest in the urban area city in the country (the metropolitan Marseille is 1.6 million residents to Paris and Lyon in third place).Marseille is located on the Mediterranean Sea east of the Rhône Delta in a bay of the Golfe du Lion that is protected from silting and the mistral and extends into the surrounding limestone hills. Marseille is the administrative seat of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region, seat of a Catholic archbishop. Marseille has three universities (merged in 2012 to form the University of Aix-Marseille; thus the largest university in France), a higher engineering, IT and business school, observatory; numerous art museums, archaeological museum, Musée d’Histoire et Port antique (Roman finds from underwater excavations in the Old Port), Musée des Civilizations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (opened in 2013), Musée Regards de Provence (opened in 2013); Libraries; Theater, opera; Stock exchange, several chambers of commerce, fair. To the west of Marseille is the Motorsport racetrack Circuit Paul Ricard (5.8 km long), to the south the Stade Vélodrome (after the expansion for the European Football Championship in 2016, the second largest stadium in France). With a throughput of 78.5 million tons (2014), the port is one of the ten largest in Europe. It handles around a quarter of French maritime traffic. The handling of crude oil and mineral oil products has the largest share in the total handling. The autonomous port of Marseille includes the urban port basin, the oil port Lavéra on the Gulf of Fos, the port facilities on the Étang de Berre and the outer port of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône in the mouth of the Rhône. The old port serves as a fishing, yacht and ferry port. The old shipping connection between the Marseille-Rhône Canal (Marseille-Rove-Tunnel-Étang-de-Berre-Port-de-Bouc-Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône) is in the first part (Rove-Tunnel) out of order (Berre). Marseille is the starting point of the Southern European Pipeline and a pipeline to Geneva. Marseille also plays an important role as a passenger and fishing port. In addition to the petroleum and petrochemical industry, the most important branches of industry include shipbuilding and mechanical engineering, metal processing companies and an important food industry (import-oriented). Marignane International Airport ranks fourth among French airports. The connection from Marseille to the French high-speed rail network (TGV) as an extension of the Paris – Lyon line was completed in 2001.


From the 3rd / 2nd Century BC Parts of the Greek fortifications and port facilities were exposed (today an open-air museum). In 1992/93 French researchers discovered during excavation work near the Old Port, among other things. a Phoenician shipwreck of the 6th / 5th centuries Century. The Saint-Victor church, founded in the 5th century (the old basilica with atrium and catacomb serves as a crypt), was rebuilt in the 13th century on the site of an early Romanesque building and expanded in the 14th century; Old cathedral (earlier building renewed in the 12th century, later changes; with Chapelle Saint-Lazare, 1481). The town hall, the Hôtel-Dieu and the forts Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicolas at the entrance to the Old Port date from the 17th century; the former Palace of Justice was built in 1743–47; since the middle of the 19th century, a.o. the Stock Exchange, the New Cathedral and Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde on a 150 m high limestone cliff; the Palais Longchamps (1862–70) now houses a picture gallery and a natural history museum. The former poor hospice Vieille Charité (17th century, from P. Puget) has been restored and modernized and houses the museums of Mediterranean archeology as well as African, Oceanic and Latin American art. The Museum für Gegenwartskunst (opened in 1994) was created for contemporary art, while the collection of French art from 1880 to 1960 is housed in the Musée Cantini. In the south of the city, Le Corbusier created a high-rise residential building (“Unité d’Habitation”; UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016) with 350 apartments and one storey on 7.5 m high concrete pillars (pilots) in the south of the city. As part of the major urban development project “Euro-Meditérranée”, the former docks converted into a modern service center (architect: Eric Castaldi) and large parts of the northern inner city were redesigned. In 2010, Marseille and the Slovak city of Košice were named European Capital of Culture for 2013.


According to softwareleverage, Marseille, Greek Massalia, Latin Massilia, was around 600 BC Founded by Greeks from Phokaia (Asia Minor) and quickly developed into the most important trading town in the western Mediterranean (connections to the Rhineland and the Aegean Sea) with a great cultural influence, especially on Ligurians and Gauls. Marseille itself founded several colonies on the southern French and Spanish coasts, such as Monoikos (Monaco), Nikaia (Nice) and Emporion (Ampurias) and created an area of ​​dominion far inland. In 49 BC Marseille became part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis. In the 5th and 6th centuries AD, Marseille was under Gothic, then Frankish rule. Town lords were the bishop (diocese since 314) and, in parts of the lower town, the abbot of the Saint-Victor monastery. Saracen invasions in the 8th century brought trade to a virtual standstill. The city was ruled by a consulate since 1178, and vice-counts’ rights were ransomed in 1213–30. As a powerful metropolis of Mediterranean trade, Marseille allied itself in the 13th century against the Emperor and Count of Provence with those of Toulouse (1230), Arles, Avignon and the Pope, but in 1252 had to recognize the sovereignty of Provence, which with the acquisition of the former episcopal city rights in 1257 sealed the end of the financial independence of Marseilles. In 1481, Marseille and Provence fell to the French crown. Trade has been developing again since the end of the 16th century (establishment of the Chamber of Commerce in 1599, free port in 1669). The plague of 1720 (40,000 deaths) and the Napoleonic continental barrier (1806-14) caused a decline. Then followed a constant upswing, benefited by the French acquisitions in North Africa (since 1830). The port was expanded from 1844. The population rose from (1816) 107,000 to (1851) 195,000, (1866) 300,000 and (1891) 404,000. In 1800, Marseille replaced Aix-en-Provence as the capital of the department. The city was badly destroyed in 1943 when German occupation troops tore down large parts of the old town in the course of a major raid.

Marseille, France